KATHMANDU, JUN 29 – The government has yet to figure out a way to clear legal hurdles to hold fresh Constituent Assembly (CA) elections, even a week after the Election Commission (EC) asked it to amend electoral laws, including the Interim Constitution.
The EC had stated on June 20 that it would not be able to hold CA elections on November 22 as scheduled by the government if legal hurdles weren’t cleared.
“Amending the constitution and other electoral laws is purely a matter of political consensus. Nothing has been done from the government’s side regarding the amendment of conflicting electoral laws,” said officials at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s advisors said talks were under way on amending the Interim Constitution and other electoral laws but have not borne fruit as of yet.
“The PM is holding discussions with different stakeholders, including the Election Commissioner, to figure out ways to clear legal obstacles within the stipulated deadline,” said Devendra Poudel, Bhattarai’s political advisor.
Poudel said the PM has been simultaneously consulting with legal advisors and political parties.
However, the opposition parties said they would not participate in the elections unless a national consensus government was formed in place of the incumbent government.
With a month elapsed since the elections were announced, the EC is piling pressure on the government, saying that it would be difficult to hold any further elections if the November 22 deadline is missed.
“It is up to the government to ease legal obstacles. We can not begin the election process without amending laws,” said EC Spokesperson Sharada Prasad Trital.
Acting Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety has been holding intense meetings with the PM and the President on this issue. Uprety’s term expires in November, while commissioners Ayodho Prasad Yadav and Dolakh Bahadur Gurung are retiring on January 11 of next year.
EC Scraps VDC Secretary’s transfer
The Election Commission on Thursday scrapped the transfer of 26 VDC secretaries in Bhaktapur district, citing a breach of its code of conduct. “The commission scrapped their transfer following media reports and complaints,” said an EC official.